John Heussenstamm


<<< previous <<<     In 1980, after a semester at the college, John and his new family moved back to Australia, where he toured with his own bands for ten years. The names of some of John's bands were the Alligators, the Lifters, Cicada, and the Rent Collectors. John recorded an album on Chase Records with an original band from West Australia named "The Innocent Bystanders". John took the place of Johnny Diesel, who ended up becoming an Aussie rock star. But "The Innocent Bystanders" were more of a pure rock group, and at the time John's heart was in the blues, so consequently John didn't feel that he was performing up to his full capabilities. During this period, John was asked by guitarist, singer, harmonica player, and band leader Matt Taylor to join Chain, Australia's premiere blues band at the time. They played great music and were a fantastic blues band, with a ton of power. But John's group, the Alligators, was doing well, and John didn't want to abandon them, so he declined. Even so, John played with Matt both in Australia and later in California. John's bands performed at many of Australia's biggest clubs, concert halls, and venues, such as: the Bindoon Rock Festival in Western Australia, the Australian Blues Festival in Alice Springs, the Basement in Sydney, the Nightcliff Hotel in Darwin, and many more too numerous to mention. In addition, his band appeared on TV in Sydney whenever they toured the Australian East Coast. John's main objective was to play well enough to make good recordings and perform with good musicians, a goal that he feels he accomplished.

In 1990, John returned to the U.S. to continue raising his family and developing as a musician. Throughout the 1990's John played at the Studio Cafe in Balboa, CA, where he attracted quite a loyal following. In 1995, he setup a fundraiser for the Laguna Beach High School music department, which was struggling financially at the time. That effort has lead to an annual event continuing to the present, and which has assisted in the development of a thriving music program at the high school.

Also noteworthy is that in the early 2000's, a friend recommended John listen to a fantastic female soul, rock and blues vocalist, Thelma Jones, with the idea that they could perform together. It turns out that John had recently heard her sing live, without realizing or asking who she was. The end result of those fortuitous events was that John helped produce, fund, compose songs, and of course play guitar for singer Thelma Jones' CD, "Law of Old".

Over the last sixteen years, John has performed at venues such as: the Orange County, CA Blues Festival; the Culver City, CA Blues Festival; the Stanton Blues Festival; The Coachouse; and the House of Blues. More importantly, John has had the privilege of playing with some superb talent in his personal bands. In addition to those already mentioned, some of these musicians were: Jan Ashley, Kofi Baker, Al Blake, Armando Compean, Frank Cotinola, Beth Deshea, Alan Diaz, Baba Elefante, Jimmy Haslip, Vail Johnson, Henry Kapono, Paul Lorange, Matt Marshall, Lester McFarland, Pol Pedersen, Vernon Porter, Lee Rocker, Rick Slauser, Dave Spurr, Drew Steele, Nate Wood, Steve Wood, Leo Vigil, and others.

John has been fortunate to have been able to play great music, perform with talented musicians, teach, and raise a family. Now he would like to use the reach and marketing power of the internet to help fulfill his dream of entertaining and educating a wider audience.